Cooking is something I started doing at the tender age of around 12. I was scared initially to get into the industry because of how it is portrayed but it is the best decision I ever made. After finishing up my professional diploma at Westminister Kingsway College, I went straight into working with Peter Gordon at The Providores in Marylebone. I went in as a junior chef and left as a senior CDP. At the age of 25, I took the head chef role at Kopapa. It turned out to be the biggest learning curve in my culinary life, in a really good way. After a year at Kopapa, I decided to fulfil my burning desire to go it alone and produce my own restaurant. I decided I wanted to pursue the food of my heritage so have over the years developed a modern Turkish cooking style. I take inspiration from my mother and my grandmother’s cooking, trips to Cyprus when I was younger, & regional cooking from Turkey. Over 2 years or so I did various pop-ups at places like The Rooftop Café, Dead Doll’s Club, Caravan, Trip Kitchen, Carousel, Ember Yard and more. I opened Oklava in November 2015 and feel very lucky to have a little, busy restaurant. I have a very exciting year ahead, my cookbook is launching on May 4th and I will be competing on this year’s Great British Menu. With a bit of luck I may even open another restaurant towards the end of the year, fingers crossed!